Our Workshops & Trainings
Wild at Heart
Somatic Ecotherapy Immersion
10 Day Professional Training in Somatic Ecotherapy
Kauaeranga Outdoor Education Centre, Thames, NZ
6th March to 16th March 2024
What is Mindful Somatic Ecotherapy?
We notice it ourselves. We notice it in others. The experience of groundedness, unity, wholeness, presence, connectedness, peace… when we spend time in the natural world. Ecotherapy is not a new concept. It has been an inherent aspect of our existence on Earth for as long as we have been here. Mindfulness is also ancient as are body or somatic based pratices. In this program the three gems are woven naturally together as one modality.
It’s only a recent development in human evolution where being in nature is something that we go and “do.” Prior to this, our interdependence with nature was an obvious necessity. Consequently, as research is showing, the absence or forgetting of this necessity is resulting in many harmful and discouraging effects, both personally and collectively.
Ecotherapy, then, involves the intentional re-connection with the natural world as a profound gateway to our own healing and renewal.
About this training
This training draws from the work of many before us – those who have received ways of honoring, connecting to, and relating to the natural world from a long line of wisdom keepers.
Alongside this ancient wisdom, we bring the recent knowledge and expertise of the teachers who have dedicated much of their personal and professional lives to broadening the access to, and supporting the embodiment of, these teachings.
We utilize practices that support us in reconnecting to our inherent knowing, discovering our unique place in the natural world, and claiming the healing, growth and transformation this makes possible.
The primary professional modalities that inform this training are: Somatic Ecotherapy, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Creative Arts Therapy, and Mindfulness.
The specific lineage-holders of knowledge that this training takes particular inspiration from are: Dave Talamo with Wilderness Reflections; Steve Foster and Meredith Little with The School of Lost Borders; Joanna Macy with The Work that Reconnects; Marshall Rosenberg and Nonviolent Communication, Jon Young with the Wilderness Awareness School; Bill Plotkin and the Animus Valley Institute; Ron Kurtz and Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy, and S.N Goenka with the Vipassana Meditation Centre.
The Structure of this Training
This is a four-module 10 day residential training and includes an overnight wilderness vigil.
The purpose of the training is to support participants in (a) developing their own intimate relationship with nature, (b) developing a solid structure for facilitating an Ecotherapy session, (c) incorporating a number of different therapeutic modalities well suited for this work (see above), and (d) determining where their own particular level of comfort is in this way of working.
Each of the four modules will revolve around the theme of one of the four cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) and their associated stages of human development and transformation (drawn particularly from the work of Meredith Little and Steve Foster and the School of Lost Borders, and from the work of David Talamo and Wilderness Reflections). As part of each module, participants will explore each of these developmental stages in relation to their own personal life journeys, in relation to the various cycles found in nature, and with regard to facilitating the healing and transformation of their clients.
Course Framework: 4 Modules
Module 1: “Establishing Basecamp” – Resourcing
Theme: Gathering resources and establishing alliance, with nature, our clients, and our essential self
Module 2: “The Foothills” – Accessing Theme: Identifying the therapeutic threshold and venturing forth.
Module 3: “Climbing the Mountain” – Processing
Theme: Navigating the territory of unhealed wounds and unresolved trauma.
Module 4: “Back to Basecamp” – Integration
Theme: Weaving the rewards of this transformative journey into ordinary consciousness and our everyday life.
(Note: There is an invitation on the final evening of module 4, to participate in an overnight wilderness vigil. More information can be provided upon request)
Meet the Teachers:
Toni McErlane – Ecotherapist, Counsellor, Mediator, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Facilitator, Rites of Passage Facilitator
Brendon Whitmore – Ecotherapist, Craniosacral Therapist, Deep Nature Connection Mentor and Wilderness Rites of Passage Facilitator
Financial Investment: Early bird if paid before 30th Nov $2950 $3250 if paid after that date.
Payment Details: Account name: Restorative Relationships
Account Number: 01-0322-0212196-01
Reference: [your name]
Cancellation Policy: Refunds less $100 admin fee will be provided if cancellations are made 2 months prior to the program start date. This is to provide support and security for those already comitted and have booked travel.
If the organisors cancel the training a full refund will be provided.
Testimonials From previous Ecotherapy Immersion Participants
“My ecotherapy experience was one of spirit-firing sacred mystery, reverent communion with beings both human and non-human, and profound visions, insights and personal transformation.
A place where song emerges from deep below, where communion with nature took me to a place of deep soul discovery, release and knowing, and where I felt so loved, nourished, honoured and at peace, at home.
I stretched and danced beyond the edges of what I thought possible in terms of my connection with self, others and the natural world. I laughed, cried, slept soundly, dreamed intensely, experienced spiritual world visions and feelings, sung around the fire and formed connections that run deep.
An experience like no other I’ve ever felt, my hosts gently weaved their energy into resonance with mine and others, holding a sacred and potent ceremonial , creating a rhythmic flow and providing wise and gentle guidance.”
“I can highly recommend the Ecotherapy training with Toni, Bren and Paris. Their deep relationship with the natural world is obvious from the land they have established themselves on, the environmentally friendly calibre of the facilities, and the running of all sessions (except if it’s raining too hard) outdoors around the firepit, beside the prayerstick. They have between them a great depth of therapeutic training and experience and they have fully committed to sharing this to the highest level of excellence, while each also bringing their personal style and flair. The traianing manual is clear and succinct and the training programme carefully structured. Each step/task builds steadily upon the previous ones, with enough time for questions/clarification and integration. I have learnings and insights from this course that will stay with me for the rest of my life”